Expert panel: Diversity has become a business imperative

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., Dec. 18, 2002 — A panel of human resources experts said Tuesday that it is imperative for businesses in the 21st century to have dedicated diversity programs. Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems co-hosted and sponsored in the event at Drexel University.

The discussion focused on what the Greater Philadelphia Region’s leading technology-focused companies are doing to ensure diversity in their workforce, particularly as it applies to creating a racially- and ethnically-diverse engineering workforce.

“We believe in fostering an environment where each and every employee is comfortable, so that he or she can perform at his or her best,” said Richard Cannon, Vice President, Human Resources and Security Operations for Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems.
“When we speak about diversity, we’re focused on inclusion.”
Since the early 1970s, the number of minority engineers has increased from approximately 0.5% of the total engineering population to almost 6.5%, a 1300% increase. Cannon said minority candidates are a prime resource to fill the ever-growing number of technical jobs.

“We believe there will be a two-fold increase in the number of tech jobs by 2008,” said Cannon. “That increase comes at the same time as the baby boomer generation is entering retirement age, which means there will be a large number of positions available in engineering and technical fields over the next decade or so. What it means is that smart companies must embrace diversity, and a larger pool of talent, if they want to have continued success.”

Other panelists that took part in the program were Antoinette Torres, Vice Provost for Drexel University; Wanda Flowers, Chief Counsel, Labor EEO and Employment for Sunoco, Inc.; and Rodney Trapp, Director of Development for the National Action Council on Minorities in Engineering (NACME).

Along with Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems, the event was sponsored by The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, PECO Energy, Drexel University and Sunoco, Inc.

Management & Data Systems (http://mds.external.lmco.com), headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, has been a specialist in systems integration, systems engineering, software development and program management in support of vital national systems for more than 30 years. M&DS is a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation with approximately 8,000 employees at facilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, Virginia and Maryland.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin (http://www.lockheedmartin.com) is a highly diversified global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s core businesses span space and telecommunications, electronics, information and services, aeronautics, energy and systems integration.

Source: Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems